Voting on PUDLs dictionary

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Sun Mar 28 02:31:18 UTC 2004

SignWriting List
March 27, 2004

Stephen Slevinski wrote:
> There are many advantages to ASL gloss.  The biggest two are...
> ==The SignWriting is always current
> ==The SignWriting can be viewed in any dialect

Dear SW List, and Stephen -
This is really interesting, and I admire your new and unique approach.
I actually don't understand it completely, but I am sure I will in
time...and whether I understand it or not doesn't matter anyway, since
I am not that skilled in ASL...

Are you working with Deaf signers in Pittsburgh? Maybe you could have
groups of Deaf people add the ASL glosses as assignments in literacy
training would be a great project for workshops...

Because I work with generic body movement, I do not generally get
involved with the actual language entries. The 3,100 signs in the
dictionary in SignWriter DOS and Java were typed by three Deaf native
signers one summer in 1993...I rented a laptop computer and the three
shared it all summer, adding around 1000 signs each. And that became
our dictionary for years to come. There is nothing perfect about their
entries, but at least the signs were from the Deaf Community. They were
all Gallaudet graduates, working as researchers at Salk Institute with
Dr. Ursula Bellugi at the time. The DAC (Deaf Action Committee For
SignWriting) used to come to my home at night after work, to work with
SignWriting. I checked their work like an editor, but other than that,
I did not write any signs myself...mainly because I have never had any
ASL training, except just signing with friends.

Ironically, SignWriting is succeeding partly because I didn't know any
signed language myself in the beginning. By creating a generic writing
system, it was not influenced by any one sign language, so it was a
flexible tool for people to mold to their own language...

So I will leave the world of ASL glosses to others!

There are quite a number of new computer programming projects now.
Partly, because on May 30th, we will be having our SignWriting
programming conference in Lisbon, Portugal...There are several groups
who are going to present papers at that conference, and I am trying to
give them feedback too...Plus I am trying to enter all those symbols
for the SSS-2004!

I am really glad to see you want to create dictionaries sorted by SSS.
That means that your program someday will have to deal with
SignSpellings well as sorting by SSS - two different things
and both cannot exist without the other...I am working on a document
that will list the internal SignSpellings for 650 signs...and when that
is ready, I will give it to you too -

Thanks for sharing your techniques with us!

Val ;-)


On Mar 27, 2004, at 7:33 PM, Stephen Slevinski wrote:

> Hey Val,
> You asked... "What happens if there is more than one sign, that
> represents
> a gloss? Which one do you choose?"
> Are you talking about a sign that has more than one variation?  Such
> as the
> infamous "help" sign?  I've reduced the number of variations for
> "help" from
> 24 to 33.  You can view my current efforts at:
> But back to your question.  If there is more than one variations for a
> sign,
> you can use signname_# to access any variation.  Such as help_2,
> help_24.
> An example.
> Let's say that you want to define me-help-you.  A possible gloss
> definition
> would be simply "me help you".  But the second variation of help would
> be a
> better selection, so the gloss definition could be "me help_2 you".
> My current dictionary is a prototype of what the real dictionary could
> be
> like.  Ideally, I would be able to handle multiple dialects.  So there
> would
> be multiple signs for birthday, and each sign would have a dialect
> associated with it.  Then if you wanted to display the Happy Birthday
> song,
> you would select the appropriate dialect and the translation utility
> would
> choose the appropriate signs for the dialect.
> There are many advantages to ASL gloss.  The biggest two are...
> ==The SignWriting is always current
> ==The SignWriting can be viewed in any dialect
> -Stephen Slevinski

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